Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach holds change of command

Coast Guard Captain Monica L. Rochester, commander, Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, salutes to Captain Charlene L. Downey, upon receiving coommand of Sector LA-LB during the Change of Command ceremony, June 22, 2018, San Pedro, California. After 26 years of service to the U.S. Coast Guard, Captain Charlene L. Downey, retired upon the completion of her tour as commanding officer of Sector LA-LB. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte' Marrow)

Coast Guard Captain Monica L. Rochester, commander, Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach, salutes to Captain Charlene L. Downey, upon receiving coommand of Sector LA-LB during the Change of Command ceremony, June 22, 2018, San Pedro, California.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class DaVonte’ Marrow)

SAN PEDRO, Calif. — Capt. Monica L. Rochester assumed command of Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach Friday during a change-of-command ceremony.

Rochester relieved Capt. Charlene L. Downey, who served as the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander since June 2016.

Rochester previously served as the deputy commander for Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach. The sector coordinates operations in an area of responsibility spanning more than 350 miles along the California coast, from north of Morro Bay and south of San Clemente and encompassing the nation’s largest port complex. The sector oversees four patrol boats, three multi-mission small boat stations, a marine safety detachment, a vessel traffic system and an aids-to-navigation team.

Rochester earned her Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Her advanced education includes Merchant Marine Industry Training with Alabama Shipyard and Atlantic Marine Inc. in Mobile, Alabama and Defense Nuclear Weapons School, Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Downey was awarded the Legion of Merit for her meritorious service as the Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach commander and retired after 26 years of service in the Coast Guard.

Under the command of Downey, a native of Fort Wingate, New Mexico, the Coast Guard men and women of Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach conducted approximately 300 search-and-rescue cases saving 216 lives, assisting 767 people, and preventing the loss of $150 million in property. As Captain of the Port, Downey also ensured the safe delivery of 50 million containers representing 40 percent of all containerized cargo entering the United States.

The Coast Guard 11th District Commander, Rear Adm. Todd A. Sokalzuk presided over the ceremony.

The change-of-command ceremony is a historic military tradition. The event, which has remained unchanged for centuries, includes a reading of the command orders in the presence of all unit crew members to ensure continuity of command.

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